Self-proclaimed prankster arrested for impersonating officer, officials say

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A Sarasota man claimed he was pulling a prank on April Fool's Day when he tried to give a fake traffic ticket to a woman, officials said.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, 25-year-old Charles Ross approached a woman carrying two children in a parking lot and attempted to cite her on false traffic charges. The incident took place at 4297 Cattlemen Road in Sarasota. Deputies said he was seen wearing a full law enforcement uniform and baton on his belt.

Surveillance video from a nearby Walmart showed the incident taking place, but Ross left before deputies arrived. Investigators spoke to the woman the following day. According to Ross' arrest affidavit, she was placing one of the children into the vehicle when she noticed Ross.

The victim approached him and he said, 'Ma'am, I'm going to have to write you a ticket," officials wrote in the affidavit. At first, she believed him and thought she may have accidentally parked in a handicapped spot, but quickly realized she didn't.

The woman became suspicious, asked who he worked for and became "scared for her safety," officials wrote in the affidavit. She raised her voice to draw attention to herself. A witness heard the conversation and yelled to the victim that she will call 911.

"We don't think it's funny when he puts a costume on like this and goes out and confronts a mother of two children in a parking lot. So he has his costume on there, here he is with the sheriff's costume on," said  Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight as he displayed Ross' mugshot.

Deputies said Ross eventually admitted it was a prank and he was offering her "concert tickets." He returned to his vehicle. He drove through the parking lot back to the victim and verbally harassed her again, officials said.

Before Ross drove away, officials said the victim captured a photo of his license plate tag, and they later identified Ross as the suspect. They said he is known in the area to film pranks for his YouTube channel, RossCreations.

However, this isn't the first time Ross's pranks have landed him in hot water with authorities.

"He recently has taken down stop signs up in Manatee County which he thought was a prank which is very dangerous, and he's done other things at Siesta Beach he did a flip over deputies who were out there working trying to protect the community," said Knight.

A few years ago Ross was charged with misdemeanor battery for giving 'wedgies' to complete strangers.

Sheriff Knight is frankly fed up with Ross' antics.​

"Your adolescent behavior is getting old. It's tying up our resources. It's costing money. It's costing the criminal justice system money to take care of these things."​

Ross's latest prank may have been the nail in the coffin, as the sheriff stated that 'pranks' that break the law or put people in danger is no laughing matter.

Ross was arrested for impersonating a police officer. His jail records show he was booked and released on bond Wednesday. 

The sheriff said he could be looking at jail time due to the numerous pranks that have landed him in legal trouble.